100 Best Restaurants 2012: Rasika
Rasika Restaurant. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published January 12, 2012
100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Address: 633 D St., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-637-1222
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Indian
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 10:30, Friday 5 to 11, Saturday 5 to 11.
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Palak chaat; lobster moilee with ginger, green chilies, and coconut milk; tandoori lamb chops with cashews, ginger, and green herbs; truffle-oil naan; tomato/gold-raisin chutney; chocolate samosas; apple beignet with cardamom ice cream.
Price Details: Small plates, $7 to $12; entrees, $14 to $27.


The crown jewel of Ashok Bajaj's restaurant collection is this gorgeously lit Penn Quarter dining room--easily the area's best Indian restaurant and unlike any other in the crowded field. Anchoring chef Vikram Sunderam's menu are first-rate renditions of familiar curry-house stews--lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala--but nearly everything else is unexpected.

The bread called kulcha is stuffed with goat cheese, the cocktail list includes a riff on a Dark and Stormy made with butternut squash, and tandoori-cooked meats are joined by kebabs and fish from the tawa griddle. The famed palak chaat--fried leaves of spinach zigzagged with yogurt and tamarind--is a winner, but on one visit it was eclipsed by a more unusual veggie dish: lentil-flour-and-cabbage cakes in a stunning yogurt sauce flecked with mustard seeds.

What to get: Ragda patties, potato cakes with tamarind-date-and-mint chutney; avocado and banana with date chutney; black cod marinated in honey, dill, star anise, and vinegar; mint paratha, the spiraled bread.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/12/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews